Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Carl Staples and Barbara Sloan; Arizona; Tainted arson investigation; A highly disturbing case of two people wrongly charged after both their houses burned down and in each case the Phoenix Fire Department said Sadie, the arson dog, signaled that she detected accelerants. But there's more to the story than that. Much more. (Must Read. HL);


STORY: "Two people wrongly charged because of a dog's testimony,"  published by AOL on February 13, 2015; (Thanks to the Wrongful Convictions Blog for bringing this story to our attention.)

For latest coverage of the Mark Lundy retrial  go to:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/mark-lundy-murder-retrial

GIST: "Imagine being wrongly charged based on the testimony of a dog? That's exactly what Carl Caples and Barbara Sloan of Phoenix, Arizona, said happened to them. They never knew each other but lived about 15 miles apart. They had one thing in common; both their houses burned down and in each case the Phoenix Fire Department said Sadie, the arson dog, signaled that she detected accelerants.........Luckily for these homeowners, the evidence didn't add up. Laboratory tests showed no proof of any accelerants. That didn't seem to matter to the dog handler, Captain Fred Andes. He actually thinks Sadie is more accurate than science. Captain Andes testified, "I believe the dog is far superior to the lab equipment." Then, a strange thing happened. As she prepared for trial, Sloan listened carefully to the fire evidence tape. While Captain Richardson was taping, you can hear the dog handler Captain Andes say, "You gotta put your nose down. At least fake it for me okay?" That's right, the dog handler muttered to his arson dog, "fake it for me." Guerrero asked Sloan, "When you heard on tape the investigator say "fake it" what went through your mind when you saw that?" "It was disgusting!" replied Sloan..........The Arizona Department of Public Safety recommended six felony charges against Captain Richardson and one charge against Captain Andes for false swearing, or lying under oath. The prosecutor, however, declined to charge them. Both men still work for the Phoenix Fire Department but no longer investigate arsons."

The entire post can be found at:

http://www.aol.com/article/2015/02/13/two-people-wrongly-charged-because-of-a-dog-s-testimony/21142598/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl27%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D612944

See related Wrongful Convictions Blog post by Phil Locke;  "We’ve posted before about “dog scent lineups.”  See those posts here and  here.  They’ve been called “the worst of the junk sciences.  I can do naught but shake my head.  I thought we had seen the last of it, but this stuff is still going on. In Maricopa County, AZ, not one, but two, people were charged with setting their own houses on fire, based upon bogus dog scent evidence which was solely the result of unethical conduct by the Phoenix Fire Department investigators involved. An independent, professional fire investigator confirmed without question that the fires were NOT arson.  The charges against both were eventually dismissed, but not before one of them spent 16 months in jail."

 http://wrongfulconvictionsblog.org/2015/02/18/dog-scent-arson-detection-and-charging/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Monday, March 2, 2015

Teina Pora: New Zealand; Release of Privy Council decision is imminent. Pora was released on parole last year after spending 21 years in jail."During the (Privy Council) hearing, Pora's lead counsel Jonathan Krebs argued that Pora admitted to a crime he did not commit because he wanted a $50,000 police reward. He presented evidence from a forensic psychologist saying Pora had a strong degree of suggestibility, was easily confused and wanted to please others. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder made Pora not a "rational, cogent and mature person" when he gave his confession, Krebs said." stuff.co.


STORY: "Teina Pora decision from Privy Council due," by reporter Paul Easton, published by stuff.co on March 3, 2015.
GIST: "Teina Pora was convicted in 1994 of murdering Susan Burdett in 1992.
Almost 23 years after his sister was brutally slain, Jim Burdett is hoping for "some kind of closure" from an historic Privy Council ruling. Teina Pora was convicted in June 1994 of the murder of Susan Burdett, 39, who was found bludgeoned to death with a softball bat in her Papatoetoe home in March 1992.
An accounts clerk, she had returned home from a night out ten pin bowling when she was attacked. The London-based five-judge Privy Council has reviewed the case, and will deliver its decision at 10pm tonight New Zealand time......... In 1995 DNA evidence linked the attack on Burdett to serial rapist Malcolm Rewa.
Pora appealed in 2000 but was reconvicted of Burdett's murder and Rewa was convicted of her rape. The case was referred to the Privy Council for what is likely to be its last ruling on a New Zealand case, after the establishment of the Supreme Court in 2004. The Privy Council, including New Zealand Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias, retired in November after two days of legal argument, to decide if Pora was wrongly convicted of murdering Burdett. During the hearing, Pora's lead counsel Jonathan Krebs argued that Pora admitted to a crime he did not commit because he wanted a $50,000 police reward. He presented evidence from a forensic psychologist saying Pora had a strong degree of suggestibility, was easily confused and wanted to please others. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder made Pora not a "rational, cogent and mature person" when he gave his confession, Krebs said. For the Crown, New Zealand solicitor general Michael Heron QC said that even if Pora's confession had been inadmissible the jury would not have reached a different conclusion. The law lords may decide to order a retrial, or send the case to the New Zealand Court of Appeal for it to hear expert evidence, and then decide whether to order a retrial."

The entire  story can be found at:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/66857770/teina-pora-decision-from-privy-council-due

Wikipedia informs us that: "On 31 January 2014 the Judicial Committee announced that Pora had been granted permission to take his case to the Privy Council in London later in 2014. The hearing was held in November. Pora's lawyer Jonathan Krebs told the Privy Council his client had recently been diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and had a mental age of nine or 10 at the time of the crime. He said this disability meant Pora was easily confused, had a drive to please others, and that his confession in 1993 should therefore be seen as unreliable.[31] Questions were also asked about the people named by Pora as having committed the murder. One of the Privy Council judges, Lord Toulson asked New Zealand's Solicitor-General "Why didn't Pora name [Malcolm] Rewa?" The explanation given by Pora's lawyers was that "Pora couldn't name Rewa because Pora didn't know him and because Pora wasn't there".[32] The Solicitor General, Michael Heron, disagreed saying that a number of people had testified to having seen Pora and Rewa together and argued that Pora had special knowledge about the crime indicating he was involved.[33]"

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teina_Pora

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Lacey Spears; Breaking News; Lohud reports she has been convicted of murder in the second degree. Reporter Lee Higgins;


STORY: Breaking News:"Lacey Spears guilty of second-degree murder, by reporter Lee Higgins, published by Lohud on March 2, 2105.

GIST: "Jurors on Monday convicted former Chestnut Ridge mother Lacey Spears of second-degree murder in the death of her 5-year-old son. Spears showed little reaction as the verdict was read. Her father and her sister, who were in court, held each other. A judge set her sentencing for April 8. Prosecutors had argued that there was no possible explanation for the high sodium levels that caused Garnett Spears' death other than salt deliberately introduced into his feeding tube by his mother. They said she did it for attention, and called it "nothing short of torture." The defense had contended that Spears, 27, was a doting mother being tried on sketchy evidence. Spears' lawyers suggested it was Nyack Hospital's treatment of the boy that was to blame for his death in January 23, 2014 death at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital in Valhalla"

 See the Breaking News story at:

http://www.lohud.com/story/news/crime/2015/03/02/lacey-spears-trial-deliberations-continue/24251795/

 PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog; 

Helen Milner: New Zealand: So-called "Black Widow," is hoping for a retrial after producing three experts who could shed doubt on the cause of her husband's death. Defence says three overseas experts have raised “serious doubt” over whether promethazine was the cause of death. News 3;


STORY "Black Widow appeal in Supreme Court," by reporter Simon Wong, published by New Zealand's News 3, on February 16, 2015.

He applied for leave to appeal her conviction his murder. Milner was sentenced to a 17-year minimum non-parole period in February last year for the 2009 murder of Mr Nisbet, after being found guilty of giving him an overdose of antihistamine. The cause of death had been ruled as the ingestion of promethazine, an ingredient in the drug Phenergan. Both Crown and defence relied on promethazine being the cause of death at the trial. It was originally believed Mr Nisbet had committed suicide, but his Australia-based sister Lee-Anne Cartier managed to get police to reopen the case. During today's hearing, Mr Glover said three overseas experts have raised “serious doubt” over whether promethazine was the cause of death. "Other causes of death have not been properly investigated," he said. The experts, two from the US, including a forensic pathologist, and one from the UK, needed access to the evidence and were so willing to help, they had offered to give evidence pro-bono, he said.
Outside court, Mr Glover said a jury needed to hear the new evidence. "[The experts] have come to the conclusion it is quite unlikely that drug did kill Mr Nisbet and there are a number of possible explanations than death by promethazine, but they need access to the actual materials taken from the body at the time of autopsy," he said.........The justices reserved their decision.
The entire story can be found at:

http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/black-widow-appeal-in-supreme-court-2015021610?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+co%2FHCaY+%283News-+Latest+News%29#axz
 z3RrOOpLI6

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Mark Lundy: New Zealand: Murder retrial; Week 4. Defence calls first witness: A U.K. crime scene expert. Stuff.co;


STORY: "Mark Lundy murder retrial: Week 4," by reporter John Galuszka, published by Stuff.co on March 2, 2015.

GIST: "The defence in the retrial of murder-accused Mark Lundy has called its first witness, a UK-based crime scene expert, in the fourth week of proceedings in the High Court in Wellington. .........11:49am: The defence has called its first witness - UK-based crime scene expert Gillian Leak. Justice Simon France told the jury it was "somewhat out of order" for her to be called now, halfway through the Crown witnesses, but she needed to get back to England for an engagement. The judge also told the jury they must consider Leak's evidence like any other, giving whatever weight to it that they want, and that the defence calling evidence did not change the burden of proof. "The prosecution still have to prove the allegations."11:24  am:  Experiments by Leak showed one of the two stains on Mark Lundy's polo shirt, both of which had traces of blood in them, could have in fact created the other stain, the court was told this morning. Defence lawyer David Morgan read sections of a report by Leak, a blood pattern analyst from England, to ESR scientist Bjorn Sutherland. The report had findings of an experiment she did to see how stains could spread on a polo shirt similar to what Lundy wore at the time he allegedly killed his wife and daughter. It said the two stains may have actually started as one, with the shirt effectively contaminating itself. Sutherland said he could not exclude that as a possibility."

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/66821253/mark-lundy-murder-retrial-week-4

 See related story. TVNZ: "Gillian Leak is a British Blood Pattern Analysis Expert from Principal Forensic Services Ltd in the United Kingdom. Mrs Leak has been called after the court heard several days of evidence from Crown ESR expert, Bjorn Sutherland. She told the jury there have been a lot of advances in forensic science over the past ten years, particularly in relation to DNA analysis.
Mrs Leak has told the court she has extensive expertise in brain tissue found at crime scenes.  She told the court her first case was related to the murders committed by a British serial killer, who became known as the "Yorkshire Ripper." Peter Sutcliffe was convicted in 1981 for the murder of 13 women and attempted murder of seven others. He was sentenced to life imprisonment."
 http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/lundy-murder-trial-expert-yorkshire-ripper-case-gives-evidence-6245242?ref=rss

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog

Henry Keogh; David Szach; Sue Neill-Fraser; Australia; Criminal justice critic Andrew Andrew L. Durbin looks at these cases in the light of judges and lawyers who he claims disregard the law because they are 'frequently timid in criticizing their professional colleagues." "Is peer group protectionism among lawyers trumping miscarriages of justice?" he asks; Pursue Democracy; (Must read.) HL.



http://pursuedemocracy.com/2015/02/a-law-unto-their-learned-selves/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Charles Smith: Former Chief Coroner James Young; Former Deputy Coroner Jim Cairns; The Toronto Star's Theresa Boyle reports that the doctors who supervised disgraced pathologist Charles Smith never faced a discipliary hearing. (Protecting the protectors - while the medical profession in Ontario protects itself. HL);


PUBLISHER'S VIEW: (Editorial);  Ontario's criminal justice system  must look so unfair to former doctor Charles Smith's many victims like Brenda Waudby and Lianne Thibeault and their families. They were arrested on little  more than the opinion of the once renowned former doctor  Charles Randal Smith and charged with horrific offences relating to the deaths of their beloved children.  Smith, who admitted perjury, "lost"  important evidence that showed his opinions were  wrong, obstructed efforts by defence lawyers to get information to independent experts retained by the defence, and pretending  falsely to judges and juries  to be experienced in forensic pathology, (he was anything but)  was never charged with a single crime.  Smith's victims protests of innocence were ignored by the authorities.  No consideration for them.  Their lives were ruined. Some even had other children taken away from them and put up for adoption.  Meanwhile, Smith and his protectors in the Chief Coroner's Office sailed into the sunset.  As the Toronto Star's investigations reveal, The College continues to offer deals to doctors who have harmed their patients. Slip away quietly into the night,  like Charles Smith was quietly permitted to do from the Hospital for Sick Children as his misdeeds threatened to become public  Don't embarrass  the medical profession.  Don't let other patients of these doctors know that they, too,  may have been at risk. Better to let them gently fade away than risk shattering the myth that the medical profession in Ontario  is protecting the public -  and not just itself. A last thought. The story refers to Smith's "mistakes" in  twenty cases. To characterize his acts as "mistakes" is to fall into Smith's dubious defence at the Goudge Inquiry which was peppered ad nauseam with admissions confined to  a litany of  "errors" and  "mistakes" which could have been made by any other pathologist. Not so, Smith's errors and mistakes were directed against people he didn't like - like single mothers, who were unemployed and may have used drugs - and didn't fit into his vision of the Christian family. And his "errors" and "mistakes" were pointed in one direction - helping the police, and making sure that the Crown got a guilty plea or a conviction, so that the person he, Charles Smith had selected for prosecution, would go to jail.  "Mistakes" goes nowhere near describing the infamous conduct of the former Doctor Charles Randal Smith.

Harold Levy. Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog.

STORY:  "Doctors who supervised  disgraced pathologist Charles Smith never faced disciplinary hearing," by reporter Theresa Boyle, published by the Toronto Star on February 28, 2015;

SUB-HEADING: James Young and Jim Cairns voluntarily resigned in 2009, and the College struck a deal in exchange for dropping a probe.

PHOTO CAPTION:  "Brenda Waudby was wrongly implicated her daughter's death by former forensic pathologist Charles Smith."

GIST: "Five years after the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO)  made controversial deals with two doctors who played central roles in Ontario’s pediatric forensic pathology fiasco, victims of miscarriages of justice are still steaming. In 2010, the college entered into undertakings with former chief coroner James Young and former deputy corner Jim Cairns, agreeing to drop investigations into them if they promised never to reapply to practise medicine again. Their involvement in the Charles Smith debacle is what brought their careers to an end. Smith, the province’s former pediatric forensic pathologist, made mistakes in 20 death investigations that led to people being criminally charged, convicted or otherwise implicated in the deaths of children. He reported to the coroner’s office. At a 2007-08 public inquiry, Young and Cairns were castigated for their “woefully inadequate” oversight of Smith. They shielded him from scrutiny, contributing to massive failings by the coroner’s office. The CPSO subsequently started an investigation into the pair........Young and Cairns voluntarily resigned from medicine in 2009 and the following year the college struck the deal with them, getting them to promise never to return to the practice of medicine in exchange for dropping its probe. But it wasn’t enough for victims of the tragedy, who feel the pair weren’t held to account. “We were paraded in public through the courts and through the media. These guys were allowed to quietly go away. How is that justified?” asks Brenda Waudby, who was wrongly charged with murdering her 21-month-old daughter. Another daughter was removed from the Peterborough woman’s custody for almost two years. A babysitter subsequently pleaded guilty to manslaughter. “The college should not be protecting their black sheep to avoid embarrassing the profession,” charges Maurice Gagnon, a Sudbury man who spent his $100,000 retirement fund to clear his daughter’s name. His daughter, Lianne Thibeault, had come under suspicion for the 1995 death of her 11-month-old son after he struck his head on a table. Smith wrongly determined the toddler died of “nonaccidental” blunt-force trauma. A sibling was taken into custody by child welfare authorities. “They (Young and Cairns) avoided the humiliation as suffered by their victims. The public is aware of Charles Smith, but not the roles of Young and Cairns,” Gagnon said."
The entire story can be found at: 

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/02/28/doctors-who-supervised-disgraced-pathologist-never-faced-disciplinary-hearing.html

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
 
http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog